Why did the chicken . . .


While searching for inspiration for this Saturday’s Smiles I came across an email giving answers to the old question, I’ve added a few more.

Why did the chicken cross the road?


Marilyn Waring: That’s a really sexist question. If it was a man crossing the road no one would ask why he was doing it.


Rachel Hunter: It’s sad when you feel like you have to cross the road because the rooster is always after younger chicks.


Sean Fitzpatrick: Full credit to the chicken. It was a road of two halves and rugby was the winner on the day.


Sam Hunt: So the chicken/crossed the road/ and also rode/ the cross. / Our nation’s boss/ the Southern Cross/ Now bears his/ PALTRY load.


Paul Holmes: And so. This chicken. It could be any chicken. Indeed. A chicken of the people. So to speak. Crossed the road. Or so we all thought. It now seems that the whole story. May have been invented. To boost. Interest in a new book. Published. Published I might add. Yes I might. Indeed published. By the very same chook. Tonight on Holmes. We investigate. The chook book crook.


David Farrar: I have 12 questions for the chicken . . .


Winston Peters: The people of New Zealand know I will not continue to sit idly by and let the media make unsubstantiated accusations about the chicken. Let me tell you that this matter will be fully tested in court and the people will have their say.


Jeanette Fitzsimons: If there were more cycle lanes it would be much safer for chickens to cross the road and they wouldn’t waste fossil fuels doing it.


Tariana Turia: The chicken’s mana entitles it to cross the road whenever and wherever it wants.  Our chickens are not required to provide a reason for their actions. It’s time the rednecks stopped chicken-bashing.


Helen Clark:  The Labour led government introduced a Welfare For Crossing Chickens Fund to enable all chickens to cross the road and escape the failed policies of the 80s and 90s.


Peter Dunne: It was the sensible thing to do.


Rodney Hide: Act will give all chickens vouchers which enable them to choose what road they want to cross, and we’ll sort out the RMA so it’s easier to build roads for them to choose.


John Key: The chicken was ambitious and National is ambitious for all chickens.




Talking about signatures . . .


Let’s not forget it wasn’t just one painting Helen Clark passed off as her own, she finally admitted to signing “about half a dozen” works of art she hadn’t created.

And it wasn’t just when she was Prime Minister when the demands of office might have explained why she did it, though not excused her for doing it. She admitted she’d done it from the time she was a back bencher.

That’s not a hanging offence, but it’s dishonest and a very bad look, especially for a Minister of Arts, which raises legitimate questions about her character.

Why didn’t she just say she couldn’t paint but offer to help in another way? Why not say she couldn’t paint but would be happy to pay for someone else to do a painting and donate that? Why not just do a painting knowing no one would expect a master piece?

Does it matter?

Yes, because the signature on a work of art deontes its provenance so you need to be able to trust it, and the woman who’s shown we can’t trust her on that reckons the election’s about trust.

Cartoon: Rod Emmerson

Voting blue to help brown


John Roughan has declared his hand.

He thinks Maori – and the Maori Party – will do better if National leads the next government.

I do too, although not necessarily for the same reasons.

Editorial of the week


The Dom Post has the editorial of the week:

It’s on Labour’s ham-fisted attempt to beat National by smearing John Key.

Here’s a taste:

If he cannot be relied upon to remember who paid for the champers with which he and his colleagues toasted his departure 20 years ago, how can he be trusted to run the country? Next thing he’ll be claiming he was unaware the crown limo in which he was being ferried from one place to another was travelling at twice the speed limit, signing his name to artworks he did not produce, rewriting electoral laws to suit his party or pretending not to notice that a political ally has been misleading the public.

But was it really necessary for Labour’s president to drop everything in the middle of an election campaign and fly to Melbourne to pore over 20-year-old court records?

Labour had every right, and every reason, to check out a tip that Mr Key had behaved improperly in the past. If he had, it was legitimate ammunition to fire during the final days of the election campaign. But by revealing its hand before it had the goods, the party has made itself look desperate. It is a blunder it cannot afford.

It is up against a cynical opponent who will stoop to any level to gain power. Instead of playing by the time-honoured rules of the game and smearing his opponents as viciously as they smear him, Mr Key smiles beatifically and steps daintily around the snares Labour lays in his path. It’s not cricket and it’s not politics, but he’s got Labour rattled.

MMP makes it harder to vote ’em out


One of the strengths of the First Past the Post voting system was the ability to get rid of unpopular politicians and governments.

It is much harder to do that under MMP.

A candidate can lose a seat but still get back into parliament on the list.

A party could lose a lot of support, it might not have the most seats in parliament but it could still cobble together a coalition and carry on leading a government.

A survey last week showed a majority of people thought the party which had the most support should lead the next government.

That didn’t always happen under FPP where at least twice National won more seats but fewer votes than Labour and it doesn’t have to happen under MMP.

A government could be formed by the silver and bronze medalists and some also-rans. Some people think that’s okay and if all those parties can bargain their way to a mix that gives them a total of more than 50% of the seats they’ll be right.

New Zealand is one of the oldest democracies in the world so whatever happens next Saturday, like it or not, we’ll accept it.

But if the result is seen as unfair it will help those of us who want to put MMP to a referendum because one of that system’s big weaknesses is that it ‘s much more difficult to vote an unpopular government out.

More hypocrisy


Barry Soper told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB yesterday that the police were waiting for legal advice before releasing a report on their investigations into New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. But Soper wasn’t expecting charges to be laid.

The report still hasn’t been released but if it does clear Peters it will be overshadowed by yet another report on his hypocricy.

Phil Kitchen reports on evidence that NZ First and its leader took donations from the Velas who were also paying party staffer Ross Meurant who was helping develop racing, fishing and tax policies.

A related story tells of Peters demanding a helicopter  from the Velas.

If nothing else this is further proof of hypocrisy in the man who scrambled up the polticial ladder on rungs created by his repeated railings against the influence of big business.

It will only take one in five   20 voters to get Peters and his party into parliament. Once he’s there a Labour led government, supported by the Greens and Jim Anderton would allow him back in government, almost certainly as a minister.

Jeanette Fitzsimons said during the wee party leaders’ debate she’d find it difficult working with him, but neither she nor her party have said they won’t work with him.

So a vote for any of the parties on the left is a vote for Peters to be a Minister because they are all prepared to put politics before principle.

Only John Key has put principle first by ruling Peters and his party out of cabinet and government he leads.

We can choose not to vote for Peters and his party, but that might not keep them out of parliament.

We can choose to vote for a National led government and be certain it will keep them out of government.

SFF $51m profit


Silver Fern Farms has made a $120m turn around from last year’s loss to post a $51 million profit.

Chairman Eion Garden attributed the improved result to higher livestock throughput with associated efficiencies and improving markets but warned profits would return to “realistic levels” this year.

Mr Garden said Silver Fern Farms (SFF) reduced debt in the year under review by $91 million, from $329.5 million to $238.6 million and attributed that to a tight rein on inventory, improved margins, disposal of non-core assets and the issue of supplier investment shares.

But what happens now that PGG Wrightson can’t secure finance to take the agreed 50% stake in the company?

Mr Garden said SFF and PGG Wrightson were in discussion to look at alternatives to their $220 million partnership, which stalled after the world financial meltdown prevented the rural servicing company meeting its first instalment.

The transaction was unconditional and enforceable, and Mr Garden said the discussions would also deal with PGG Wrightson’s default on the transaction.

The coming season could be a difficult one for meat companies because comeptition for stock will be intense.

Sheep numbers are down so in spite of mutterings about no-one wanting Sunday night auctions it’s a sellers’ market this season. Farmers have a stronger hand than they’ve had for several years and they’ve got a lot of making up to do.

Seven more sleeps . . .


. . . until the election and the character polls  are good news for John Key, bad news for Helen Clark.

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